Under fire after the revelation of the awarding of a no-bid $300 million contract to rebuild the electrical grid in Puerto Rico, the Trump administration is trying to shift blame to local officials on the island.
The contract was awarded to Whitefish Energy with a clause prohibiting the audit of the financials of its expenditures and profits. Making the deal even more suspicious is the fact that the company had only two employees when Hurricane Maria struck the Puerto Rico and is based in the hometown of Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and is headed by a friend of his.
Now the Trump administration is denying “any role” in the awarding of the contract and the negotiation of the deal, despite the contract explicitly stating that FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, “reviewed and approved” the contract. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the press yesterday that:
“This is a contract that was determined by the local authorities in Puerto Rico, not something that the federal government played a role in. But as we understand, there is an ongoing audit and we’ll look forward to seeing the results of that later.”
The details of the notoriously lopsided contract and the suspicious background of the company it was granted to have led to multiple calls for a congressional investigation into the circumstances under which it was awarded. The Sierra Club responded to the news of the contract with this tweet:
— Sierra Club (@SierraClub) October 27, 2017
With the Trump administration trying to distance itself from the decision, the stench emanating from this deal is so bad that they know that any association with the ill-begotten contract will seriously undermine Trump’s long-broken campaign promise to “drain the swamp”, as if anyone still believed that rhetoric after Trump appointed a series of self-interested billionaire corporate lackeys to his cabinet.